Das Ding

The Thing

Heidegger delivered this lecture in 1949 and 1950, in Bremen and Bühlerhöhe, as part of a cycle of four lectures under the title Insight into That Which Is, and in a slightly expanded version in Munich in 1950.

The starting point of the lecture is the fact that today all distances in space and time are shrinking. Yet, the abolition of distance does not bring about nearness. What is nearness? Things are near to us, but do we know what a thing is?

In a phenomenological description of a jug, Heidegger shows that the jug’s jug-character consists in the poured gift of the pouring out. In the drink of this gift, earth and sky both dwell. The gift of the pouring out can be a drink for mortals or a consecration for the divinities. In the jugness of the jug, mortals and divinities dwell. In the gift of the out-pouring dwells the simple singlefoldness of the fourfold.

A thing stays earth and mortals, divinities and mortals. This staying Ereignis stays the fourfold in the sense that it brings the four into the light of their mutual belonging. Thing means gathering into nearness. Thinging the thing gathers the united four, earth and sky, divinities and mortals, in the simple onefold of their self-unified fourfold. The four mirror each other. The Ereignis mirror-play of the single onefold of earth and sky, divinities and mortals, is the world. The world presences by worlding. Since the thing gathers the fourfold, it also things the world. Things appear out of the ringing of the world’s mirror-play. Human beings attend in their dwelling within the world by responding to the claim of being through their thinking.